To reduce asthma-related deaths and morbidity, the Nigerian Thoracic Society (NTS) has advocated that the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) covers asthma medications.
President of the society, Prof. Etete Peters, made the call in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, while addressing newsmen as part of activities marking the 2019 World Asthma Day with the theme: “Stop for Asthma”.
Peters identified asthma as one of the most common chronic lung diseases affecting approximately 400 million people worldwide.
He suspected that about 15million people may have asthma based on numerous studies, but with increasing urbanization and adoption of Western lifestyle, developing countries may have rising incidence of asthma.
“The number of people with asthma will grow by more than 100 million by 2025. Asthma is the most common chronic diseases in children.
“The Stop in this year’s theme stands for Symptom evaluation, Test response, Observe and assesses and proceeds to adjust treatment.
“This is unique as it addresses everyone and highlights key steps to keep asthma under control. Importantly, the theme underscores the importance of adequate protocol and guideline in asthma management.
“Asthma is a condition that millions of people who have it have to deal with on a daily basis.
“It’s typically characterized by recurring respiratory symptoms such as coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath and chest tightening. These symptoms are variable and can fluctuate for each individual over time. Asthma is a heterogeneous disease with interplay of the nature and nurture,” he stated.
Peters explained that as the umbrella body of all professionals involved in respiratory care, the Nigerian Thoracic Society over the years has been committed to regular and continuous update of its members and health workers in general on the management of airways diseases, including asthma.
The society, he noted, has equally been involved in community mobilization and public education on various chest diseases including asthma, emphasizing the need for optimal asthma control.
“In order to achieve this, the society, in conjunction with some of our partners, has developed Guideline for Asthma Management in Nigeria.
“This is already published and being disseminated across the country through our members. We have conducted health professional asthma education among general practitioners in some states of the country.”
The guideline, according to him, was to ensure that practitioners adopt the minimum level of standards required in the treatment of asthma, which will ultimately reduce asthma-related deaths and morbidity.